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Tiger Crisis

Despite great efforts at species conservation, even such highly visible and important animals as the tiger are in crisis, as demonstrated by the alarming decline in wild tiger populations. Tigers are so highly endangered that they may soon be extinct in the wild. This tragedy can only be prevented if tiger range states do more to protect habitat and combat poachers, consumer states stamp out the market for tiger parts and derivatives, and rich countries help to fund tiger conservation efforts. (R. Hepworth in UNEP, 2000)

From a population of over 100,000 in the 19th century, the Earth's wild tiger population has plummeted to an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 individuals. Tigers range from India and Russia to China and Southeast Asia, but with several sub-species thought to be already extinct, the species' long-term survival is now at stake. Tiger hunting is now illegal everywhere, and international trade in tigers and tiger products is completely banned under CITES. Nevertheless, habitat destruction continues at a rapid pace, live tigers enter the illegal exotic pet trade, tiger skins are bought and sold, and tiger parts are sought for presumed health benefits. (UNEP, 2000)

References and Sources

UNEP. 2000. India and Japan consider urgent action to protect the tiger. UNEP News Release 2000/3. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.


Emerging Issues


UNEP/DEWA/Earthwatch 1996-2002